Woolworths first-quarter results reflect ‘underlying health’, says CEO

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Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci has hailed the supermarket’s ‘strong’ metrics and praised customers for weathering single-use plastic-bag ban.

He was commenting on Woolworths’ first-quarter sales results for the financial year 2019 14 weeks to 30 September 2018 (Q1’19).

In a statement, Woolworths Group listed its progress against “key priorities”, which included:

  • Australian Food’s Voice of Customer (VOC) scores remaining strong in Q1’19 despite a more challenging start to the quarter. VOC NPS was 49 per cent and store-controllable VOC was 82 per cent in September.
  • Australian Food sales growth of 1.9 per cent (comparable sales: +1.8 per cent) due to the impact of removing single-use plastic bags and a competitor continuity program. However, there was improved momentum in September and into October.
  • Group online growth of 28 per cent. Woolworths Online won the Canstar Blue 2018 award for most satisfied customers.
  • BIG W sales growth of 1.3 per cent (comparable growth: +2.2 per cent) driven by strong Kids and Leisure, despite a slow start to sales of summer lines.
  • Progress on environment and community with more than 600 million fewer single-use plastic bags; more than $7.5 million raised for drought relief; 280 payments to drought-affected dairy farmers; and 500 Junior Landcare Grants.

The full results are available here.

‘Underlying health’

Mr Banducci said: “While it was a more challenging quarter for sales, customer and brand metrics were strong across the group, especially in Australian Food, reflecting the underlying health of our business.

“In Australian Food, comparable sales momentum improved materially in September compared with August, leading to growth of 1.8 per cent for the quarter with market share by the end of the quarter broadly returning to Q4’18 levels.

“In WooliesX, online sales increased 26 per cent with Pick Up remaining a key driver. Woolworths Rewards members increased to 11.1 million. Online sales across the group increased by 28 per cent, with New Zealand Food and BIG W particularly strong.

“All businesses are now focused on delivering an exceptional Christmas experience for our customers. I’d like to finish by thanking our customers for their support in helping us do the right thing for the environment.”